Last week Ecocash woke up to a national apology announcing that they have cancelled their Bank to wallet promotion, where 15 cows were up for grabs, and of course as usual, yours truly was smelling a rat.
Unfortunately most Ecocash fans and ignorant commentaries took it to the social media blaming Ecocash for failing to to fulfil their end of the promise, and one would just wonder if Ecocash really failed to deliver the promised cows.
However sources close to the developments have divulged to TechnoMag that the Bankers Association of Association , (BAZ) has written to the Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe, (RBZ) complaining about the “huge cash movements” into Steward bank.
The move is alleged to have been sanctioned by the RBZ, effectively banning Ecocash from running such a promotion, but now here is the irony.
The Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe has not banned or stopped Bank to Ecocash transactions, rather, they are only targeting the promotion, this is what they have allegedly ordered Ecocash to stop.
“They do not want to see a promotion that is advocating for cash movement into Ecocash accounts or rather Steward Bank, they are also in fear of the unknown, the message is do not simply encourage subscribers to transact, let the process be natural”
said a commentator.
Some voices have however said that this is a message from competition, irked by huge transactions and profits driven by Ecocash and Steward bank, hence they are no longer adhering to fair play but regulatory limitations.
Ecocash is alleged to have recorded a massive 80% increase since the promotion started and all banks have seen a huge shift of the funds to the mobile money payment platform, hence the alarm
Some sceptics however rubbished jealousy as the reason behind the transaction stoppage, since the banks are also charging and making profits from these same transactions.
“Ecocash does not make any profit from bank to wallet transactions, the banks are the ones benefiting, they rather make profits from the transactions after one has moved the funds into the wallets”
said an analyst.
Effort to get a comment from the Reserve bank Governor Dr Mangudya were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable and messages sent were not responded to by time of publishing.
The Reserve bank is more concerned about the promotion of cash movement itself, against a legal statute that has allowed and limited that to a maximum monthly limit of $150 000 and a daily cap of $35 000. However the maximum once off transaction is still $5 000 per transaction.
With all these restrictions in place, Ecocash has become over regulated by statutes and fear of the unknown and these limitations have not made life easier for an ordinary man in the streets.
A daily limit of $35 000 is still however way to low for most people already trading using USD where that figure fetches a little of $200 USD, surely with 90% of transactions being driven by the informal market the restrictions are only retrogressive and counter production for an informal market economy.
The biggest question has been on the appetite to restrict transactions on Ecocash, as the biggest platform moving payments in Zimbabwe, earlier on the government had called them a ponzi scheme, a case they rigorously investigated and still to announce their findings.
The Financial Intelligence Unit under the RBZ is however worried about cash movements fuelling parallel markets rates and destabilising the economy, Ecocash has been fingered as an easy platform promoting such cash movement hence they remain tight on the platform.